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Potential cancer therapies invented at Ohio State are licensed to drug development firm

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A promising new cancer therapy created in a laboratory at The Ohio State University is on an accelerated pace toward testing thanks to a new licensing agreement between Ohio State and a New Jersey-based drug development firm.

Arno Therapeutics Inc. has been granted exclusive rights to test the agents and take them to market. The agents are two small molecules that are considered to have powerful cancer-fighting properties. They were developed by Ching-Shih Chen, the holder of the Lucius A. Wing Chair of Cancer Research and Therapy in Ohio State's Comprehensive Cancer Center and professor of pharmacy and internal medicine. The molecules are called OSU-03012 (NSC D728209) and OSU-HDAC42 (NSC D736012).

OSU-03012 triggers cancer cells to self-destruct. The molecule triggers cancer cell death by blocking the transmission of key information from the cell surface down into the cell. In laboratory studies, this agent also has been shown to interact with existing cancer therapies in promising ways.

OSU-HDAC42 has demonstrated antitumor activity by influencing compounds that regulate cancer cell survival. In particular, laboratory studies have shown this agent can cause chemical changes that prevent tumor cells from dividing.

Both compounds have been developed in forms that can be taken by mouth. Arno plans to begin Phase 1 testing of the safety of the molecules in humans in 2009. Company officials will visit Ohio State in February to begin planning the next stage of testing.

"The out-licensing of these two very important molecularly targeted oncology compounds to Arno Therapeutics is a significant milestone for Ohio State," said Dr. Michael Caligiuri, director of the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center and CEO of The James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute. "These are the first two molecules for cancer treatment created entirely at OSU that will be brought into the cancer clinic."

Robert Brueggemeier, dean of The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy, says the collaborative atmosphere at Ohio State puts the university in position to both develop and test compounds. "Dr. Chen's groundbreaking discovery began in a laboratory in the College of Pharmacy. The research community here is excited to see the project move forward to the next phase."

"We are extremely pleased to be developing these two exciting and novel molecules for the treatment of cancer patients," said Scott Z. Fields, M.D, President and CMO of Arno. "We look forward to moving these molecules into the clinic and to hopefully bringing their benefits to patients who need them as soon as possible."

Arno Therapeutics is a privately-held biopharmaceutical company that develops and commercializes innovative products for the treatment of cancer patients. The company has been in discussions with Ohio State's Technology Licensing and Commercialization team since July, 2005. Under terms of the agreement, Arno will pay Ohio State license fees, development-based milestones and royalties based on sales of the licensed products.

This latest license agreement illustrates Ohio State's commitment to expand its commercialization of intellectual property developed by faculty, students, and staff. Last year, the university increased research royalty and licensing by 30 percent, bringing in $1.25 million. This included 32 new licensing deals, expanding the university portfolio to 158 active contracts.